Finished Weaving

I finished another weaving project. As is typical, I learned a thing or two. First of all, calculate and then recalculate. On this one, I somehow managed to calculate my warp too short to accommodate the amount of weft I had available. I have about half the weft left over and I have a rather short scarf. It’s disappointing. Particularly disappointing because I had another ball of warp yarn available! So, instead of using up two stash yarns, I used half of two stash yarns. Ugh.

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The scarf itself is awfully pretty. No regrets there!

I don’t have anything on the loom right now. I don’t even have anything on the warping board right now. I need to either pick out a pattern to work on, or choose another interesting yarn to use with a regular weave, or wait for new warp cotton yarn I have arriving next week. Not sure which I’ll end up choosing.

With this finished project, I am now at 73% of my goal of 40 projects this year. I currently have two pairs of socks, a stocking, and a part of a stole on the needles. I also have it in my head to make a few fun items that should knit up pretty fast. I am currently feeling good about that goal.

About the goal of under 100 stashed yarns? Not as good. I have brought in a few weaving cotton yarns that I need to get listed in stash. I’ve made great progress, and I really don’t think I have purchased yarns that I haven’t used immediately this year, and the weaving tends to eat stash quickly. But, often I’ll use a yarn that I can’t completely remove from stash since I didn’t use it ALL. Plus, there’s the influx when I do get around to spinning.

I do need to do another serious stash shake out, it’s always good to remove and rearrange to make sure I am remembering the things I have. I did do a craft room clean up recently so I’d have more room to do that shake out. But haven’t done the shake out yet. Perhaps today, if it rains.

In any case, this is what my crafting looks like today. ūüôā

A List

A short list of things that make me feel dumb. In no particular order.

  1. Gauge. I finished the sock I had been working on all weekend. I put it on, it was WAY too large. Decided that was fine, it would fit Mr. Ink. I asked him to try it on. I started the second sock. It is way smaller, a much more appropriate size for the needles I am using. It’ll fit me. Gauge makes me feel dumb. Or maybe, it’s tension that makes me feel dumb.
  2. Allergies. Spoiler alert-it was just allergies. I started to feel better by Saturday evening after spending all day indoors. Hung out with friends outside Saturday evening, sneezed all morning. I refuse to let allergies stop my life right now, so I am going to have to just accept that sneezy, snotty, itchy, and fog brained are part of my life right now.
  3. Work. There’s just so much going on and I am just desperately trying to remember eveything that needs to be done that I don’t have much space for anything else. I spent all week avoiding the issues with my loom because I didn’t have the brain power to figure it out because work was too busy.
  4. Learning something new. This morning I went downstairs to my loom trying to work out what the heck was wrong with it. Prior to doing so, I looked up types of looms trying to figure out what I have so I could figure out the issue at hand. Then I went downstairs, got under my loom, and pressed on the working treadles to teach myself how the darn thing worked in the first place. I still couldn’t figure out the bum treadle, so I pressed and lifted it while looking at the side of the loom. Turns out, the rope that needs to connect to the treadle to make the shafts move had come unhooked. Easy fix. I felt pretty dumb not having been able to work that out right from the start!

On the bright side, this means I finally got the opportunity to tie up the loom the way I wanted to. It’s still just a simple weave, but I’ve got each harness hooked up to the outside treadles, in hopes I’ll get used to using both feet. I had just been using my right foot for the last project.

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Details: The warp is cotton, it’s Rowan Cotton Glace I had in stash. Sadly, I couldn’t remove this yarn from stash since I still have one more ball left. But, I am glad that I was able to get some stash moved out of my cabinet even so. The weft is a chain ply handspun I spun quite a few years ago. I am loving how it is weaving up so far.

Things I am learning with this project. First of all, I need to be more careful about the selvage warp threads, I’ve got two always together on the edges now. This isn’t how things are supposed to be! But it’s how they are going to be as I am not going back. So, when figuring out where to begin, I need to take those warp threads into account.

Another thing, I need to not be afraid to add more waste weft to the start of the project, and I need to be ok with pulling those edges a little tighter when adding the waste weft. At the moment, I am getting some pretty ugly inches at the beginning before I get into a decent groove. Allowing myself more waste space would definitely help this.

Warp tension is another thing I need improvement on. Just because I feel like all the warp threads are tight doesn’t mean I don’t have to go back and check one more time. I can see where I didn’t, and it is a little too obvious for my own comfort level.

I am very happy to have had a little bit of time to weave today. We have dog park and a bike ride planned for later today so I’ll lose a lot of crafting time, but gain time with other hobbies. Stay tuned, I’ll go into more detail about the sock that has gauge issues in a different post.

I did it!

I actually finished the first scarf on the floor loom over the weekend. However, I was determined to refresh my memory of the weaver’s knot by knotting the new warp to the old and pulling it through. As such, I could not just yank the finished scarf off the loom, tie the fringe, and then wash and dry it.

114 tiny little weaver’s knots later, I had indeed refreshed my memory and also was able to remove my scarf.

The warp is a cotton yarn I had in stash. It was something which I bought from Rachel at Dyeabolical yarns way back when she was dyeing some cotton. The weft is handspun. It’s a 2 py yarn which I created little bumps out of one of the plies while plying the yarn. The fiber was also from Dyeabolical Yarns, colorway Thunderboom.

The little bumps I created in the handspun yarn show up charmingly in the scarf. But, the thing I didn’t account for when planning the project was that naturally, some of those bumps would show up right at an edge. So, this created edges that were even wonkier than they would have been simply because I am a newbie weaver. On the other hand, one might think that’s ok, as the edges were bound to be wonky and now I have an excuse.

It turned out really nice! I think keeping the warp tension on the floor loom is easier than the table loom I had used in the past. It’s also faster to weave, and much quieter.

My hope continues to be that I learn one or two new things each work in progress. I tied on the new warp last evening, working on it way into the evening. Then, I decided one of the things I needed to learn was how to do a different tie up of the harnesses. Unfortunately, I managed to completely confuse myself and the loom is not entirely functional at the moment.

I am sure this’ll be a Mr. Ink to the rescue moment. I told him I was going to need some help. And, I told him that I could explain to him how it should work so that his mechanical mind can figure out why what I did made it stop working. THEN, he can teach me HOW it works in the first place so I can figure out how to do new tie ups properly. Because I know he won’t want to help me figure out a tie up every time I want to do a new project.

That being said, the above project is just a simple weave. The next project is also going to be a simple weave, so I just wanted to change the tie ups because I wanted to get used using a different foot pattern. No matter, I’ll get it figured out, hopefully before the weekend, so that I can get back to it.

In the end, I learned a lot and I am quite pleased with my little scarf! I am quite eager to work on that new project very soon!

Weaving Progress

Yesterday I did indeed dedicate a good amount of time to getting a project onto the new to me floor loom so I could give it a spin. We took the dogs out to the dog park midday, but the remainder of the day I had for the loom. This was planned. I wanted to do the work, but I didn’t want to overdo it. I wanted to enjoy myself.

I had actually gotten my warp started on the warping board Saturday night. I finished up Sunday morning and took the entire thing to the basement. I just wanted a very plain weave, and to add interest, I figured I’d use handspun yarn. This is yarn I made with little bumps created from the plying process. I figured they would show up in an interesting manner.

The warp is cotton I’ve had in my stash for ages.

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I had to do a little troubleshooting as I don’t think the loom came with every single appropriate part. Mr. Ink and I will need to go to the hardware store later and see if we can figure that out. But I improvised something using a piece from my table loom, it’ll work for this project. As you can see, I screwed up the warp a bit as I was putting it through the reed. There were a large number of stray warp threads. It didn’t matter too much to me though, I just took them out.

I slowly worked through this process and thankfully did not make any mistakes other than the stray warp threads that ultimately didn’t matter. So then I get to start the fun part, actually weaving.

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It’s definitely not perfect! I am learning how far is appropriate to advance the loom when needed, I am learning tension, etc. But it’s looking pretty cool! We have quite a lot planned for today, so I won’t get a ton of time to devote to this. But I am hoping that after I finish this blog post I can go down and get a bit more done while enjoying my morning coffee.

It’s a good first start! I am pleased. It’s easy to be hypercritical over something I don’t really know how to do yet, but if I step back, I realize all of that is part of the learning process and I should be pleased I am giving it a try in the first place.

 

Stash Buster

Weaving is absolutely the best stash buster ever. I can start warping a loom on Friday evening and have a finished scarf on Sunday. It’s JUST that quick. Which is amazing to me.

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The unseasonably warm temps around here didn’t hurt either, I washed the scarf, and set it out in the sun while I went for a motorbike ride. Upon my return, it was dry.

I actually tied on the warp for my next scarf to this warp so that I didn’t have to worry about rewarping the loom.

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This is the remainder of my yarn from my Smaug batt and braid. It’ll be a much thinner scarf, or, something else entirely, but I really wanted to see what this looked like with a dark weft.

At this point I am just experimenting madly with the look. Throw a warp on there and go to town. It feels great, very freeing. One of these days I really will start looking up patterns and using them. But for now, I am enjoying the freedom of creativity.

Bad News

Well, that lovely brioche hat I worked on all day yesterday ended up with a mistake discovered a few rows later. I couldn’t live with the mistake, I tried to rip back, but ripping brioche stitch doesn’t really work, so I am pretty sure I’ll have to rip it all out and start again. I am not thrilled, but I do like the hat enough to try it again.

I don’t currently want to knit on it though, so instead I warped my loom and got started on a new project.

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I am rather excited about this one, I tried warping from back to front this time and I much prefer that result. Very good stuff. I’ve only just begun on this project but I suspect it’ll go quickly once I get moving on it.

The good news? I did get an opportunity to use my new hedge trimmer yesterday, trimming at my burning bush until it looks far less bushy. The trouble is, I can’t even try to reach the top of it, so I am hoping Mr. Ink will work that part out. On the other hand, the bush is no longer touching my house, which was one of my main priorities.

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I also cut out some dead branches on one side, so it just looks better all around.

I’ve got some additional hedges needing my attention, so I may put on some sensible shoes and try to get to them today. The hedge trimmer is rather fun!

A Full Weekend

I love a full but relaxing weekend so much! And that’s exactly what I got this weekend.

I finished a few things! First up, I finished my spinning project. I’d had leftover 3 feet of sheep fiber from my collapse weave scarf. I was sick of blocks of colors, so I decided to blend the colors together as I was spinning. This gave it an interesting overall look, with colors flowing into the next.

I ended up with 305 yards of worsted weight yarn, chain plied.

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This was fun to chain ply as I’d already forgotten what colors were under the top colors.

As soon as the spinning project was done and washed, I went into the loom room and decided to stay there until my latest weaving project was done. Got that off the loom, washed, and out to dry.

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The handspun warp on this one is Marja’s handspun, and the weft is mine, from a fleece I processed awhile back. I really like how it turned out, the random and long colors of the warp really feature all the color gifts handspun has to offer!

As soon as that was done, Mr. Ink and I took my new to me bike out for a dirt ride. You see, I’ve been borrowing this bike for awhile. It’s a MUCH better mountain bike than the one I was riding. But, since it was a friends bike, I didn’t get it all dialed in for my body. It is now my bike, as she has given up riding dirt. So, Mr. Ink and I worked on the suspension, adjusted the brakes, moved the handlebars, the grips, the shifting, etc. This meant that we did a lot of starting and stopping, as we would stop, I’d tell him what I wanted to do next, and he’d pull out his tools and make it happen.

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The one thing in particular left to do is to get some better tires. But, it’s a fun bike to ride! 29 inch wheels, and a lot lighter than what I had before. (What I had before will be set up for winter riding, then go to Miss Bug in the spring, since she’s horrifyingly close to being tall enough to ride it.)

I love these three pictures in one post, because it really sums up who I am. (I suppose knitting and motorbikes need to be pictured as well.) It’s nice to have a weekend where I get to enjoy¬†almost everything I love the most.

My Tuesday Evening

I mentioned to Mr. Ink early on that I intended for Tuesday evening to be a relaxing evening full of tidying the house (Yes, that’s relaxing) and crafting for me. He decided that he would like to make a nice dinner and kill weeds in the yard.

So, after quite a bit of tidying, most of it happening before Mr. Ink even came home, I got to work on a warp I am trying for my next weaving project. The warp is handspun from Miss Marja, and it’s quite lovely. Then I pulled out some of my own handspun 2 ply from a fleece I processed to use as a weft.

Well, the warping didn’t go so well. I need to remember to check before I start winding everything on to make sure I’ve got my warp correct. It wasn’t. It wasn’t correct repeatedly. I thought I’d gotten it, but I hadn’t.

Then, I got the thing wound on, only to realize I’d lost a warp thread (it decided it wasn’t strong enough for the weaving journey) and so I had to untie and move everything over yet again. I think at that point I wanted to give up. But, I also wanted to weave. So I took a break for Mr. Ink’s dinner.

One way I know the season is changing is that Mr. Ink starts making my favorite food. Homemade French Onion Soup. It’s really truly wonderful and if we could make it once a week, we probably would.

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He’s such a good cook, and he also cooks so willingly. Sometimes I’ll allude to the fact that I should probably cook more often, and his response is “I don’t want you to HAVE to cook. You already do so much around here, you should not have to cook too.”

Though, once he starts adding herbs to the pot of soup, I generally jump in and add some more. ūüôā

Thus fortified, I was able to finish warping the loom, and even got a tiny bit of weaving done. Here’s a preview of what this project will look like.

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It’s so pretty, and I love the warm and cool colors playing together in the warp. So nice!

The Grand Reveal

Well, it may have caused me all sorts of issues, but the scarf turned out great!

I plunged it into it’s hot water bath, and it absolutely did what I wanted it to, it pulled in due to the energized singles.

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I did have to redo all the fringe after the hot water bath. Once all the energy showed up in the singles, it took all the twist back out of my fringe. That was interesting!

This was a great project, it kept me interested and I am glad I managed to make it happen. However, I sincerely doubt I’ll do another one. It was just…..tough. Maybe I’ll change my mind once I get better at weaving, but as of right now, I don’t see me trying this again.

But it was fun! And I am pleased with the result!

Weaving Update

Last evening I sat at my loom until my project was done. I couldn’t resist this charming picture of yarn on the loom.

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Just layer upon layer of gorgeous color!

I have learned a lot from this project thus far. In addition to the lessons I learned about sizing the warp with gelatin sizing, I also learned that if spacers are being used, you really must have all the spacers for the project. I kept reusing the original spacer, and this made the weft threads move when I was winding the loom. I had 3 warp threads break, but honestly that didn’t seem too bad considering that I was using very thin singles. And I managed those.

But, overall, my frustration toward the end of this project was high. Mr. Ink came into my loom room at one point, and I said “You know what my problem is? My problem is that I am not willing to put in the time doing the simple projects and learning all I can about them before I attempt the complicated projects.”

Mr Ink said “You know what? I bet no matter your frustration, people will love the final piece. And, I bet it will also turn out as you wish it to.”

Then he left to play pool with his friend, and I sat in my loom room weaving and cursing.

I finished. And pulled it off the loom.

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Here’s what came off the loom before it’s bath. The weft threads were not sized, so those pull in, but the warp threads still have their sizing, so they are stiff and straw like.

I did put it in the bath, and here’s a spoiler alert. It looks great! I now need some decent weather so I can get photographs. But, autumn is coming in like a lion, with massive storms and high winds. And it’s dark. It’s been dark. No photographs yet!

Weave Update

I learned a few lessons with my gelatin sizing project.

#1. Be sure to get as much excess sizing off the warp as possible, as excess sizing makes a nasty sticky mess, and is hard on the singles.

#2. Save a portion of the sizing for later use, only toss after weaving is complete.

This should help you deduce what happened, but I’ll tell you anyhow. I had a nasty sticky section, and when I tried to pull it apart, I ended up breaking two of the warp threads. So, I quickly put two more on my warping board, but then didn’t have any gelatin sizing left since Miss Bug had used it all to play with. I quickly looked up other options, and noticed that some people use cheap hairspray. So, I decided that was a quick and easy option worth a try.

I spent part of last evening and part of today on warping the loom. I recently made some changes in my loom room, one of the changes being removing an area rug that kept getting in my way. I now have only the hardwood floor in there, and since all the furniture is on floor protectors, it’s easy to move it around. This means I can get to the back of my loom as simply as I can get to the front of it.

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I just move the table around, and slip my chair back there and I am all set. I love that!

I just finished tying one end of the warp to the loom. I now need to do the same with the front, but I figured I’d take a quick break. It’s looking pretty good at the moment!
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I also prepared some of the weft singles, getting them onto bobbins and ready to go. Once the warping is complete, it should all go quite quickly!

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Another update from the weekend, Mr. Ink decided to start customizing my motorbike. He got a seat cover for it, and then created a custom triumph logo piece for it. I think it looks great!

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We took a ride after he put it on the bike, and he’s decided it makes the bike go faster. ūüôā Also, he’d like me to note that this is only the beginning of the customizing of this bike. So you’ll probably see more. But, since I tend to love riding his bike more than my own, I told him he wasn’t allowed to customize this one any more until he makes the clutch easier to pull on his bike. Funny how quick that worked, he’s out in his garage right now with his bike torn apart. I hope it works!

A wonderful and relaxing weekend for us all, and so entirely needed. We got tons of housework done, additional organizing and finding spots for things that need spots done, a nice dirt ride on our bicycles, it really couldn’t have been more pleasant. I could use another day or two of this!

I bet you feel exactly the same.

Sizing

It’s a quiet weekend with no obligations! ¬†I couldn’t be happier about that. I took this as an opportunity to do the next step in my collapse weave scarf.

The morning dawned sunny and cool. I had mixed up some gelatin last evening to use as sizing on my warp, and just let it set overnight.

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Then, I used two chairs and some rods to stretch out my warp.

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I think that’s just as pretty as can be! Then Miss Bug and I set to work squishing the gelatin into the warp, attempting to coat each strand. It was very sloppy, and Miss Bug loved it, but worried there wouldn’t be enough gelatin to play in after we were done.

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There was, you can see her playing in the grass. I hope this works!

Have a great weekend everyone, I plan to spend mine cleaning and relaxing!

Embarking on a Journey

I’ve long wanted to create a collapse weave scarf out of handspun. I even spun for it awhile back, but didn’t get much further than that.

With my latest wall hanging off the loom, and no specific project on my wheel, I decided it’s time to work on that collapse weave. I took all the singles I’d spun and ran them through the wheel again to add more twist.

Then, I wound the yarn on my warping board.

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I ended up running out of singles of the colors I had started with, and then decided just to add more color. There’s no real reason not to! I am using a frabjous fibers 3 feet of sheep kit after all, I’ve got more than enough color to work with!

This morning I took the singles I spun for the weft, which are slightly thicker than those for the warp, and began adding more twist to them. I am almost done, and positive I’ll finish tonight after work.

This weekend I’ll have to find a way to make some sizing and put that on the warp yarn. I figured I’d wait unto the weekend so that I can do this outdoors, saving a mess inside.

Stay tuned, I am pretty excited about this project and plan to update you regularly!

A Thing I Made

A long time ago I created a very fuzzy 2 ply yarn out of border leicester locks I cram pot dyed. As it was not the softest thing, I struggled to figure out what to do with that particular handspun.

And then I got it in my head that it would make a great warp for a wall hanging. So that is what I did.

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Using recycled sari silk as weft, I made a little wall hanging. It’s been on my loom for quite some time now, but I just don’t take the time to work in the loom room. This weekend I decided it was time to finish up. It doesn’t hang the straightest right now, which is disappointing, but it does look really interesting, and that part I love. I also love that it’s different. Something I don’t often do. I say this every time I have a woven finished object…..I really should weave more.

High Hopes

Mr. Ink and I put up all our art, and once it was up I mentioned that I might like to eventually add another wall hanging or two. Oddly enough, he was eager that I should make them, and already decided on space for them on the wall.

That got me thinking about my next weaving project. I finally settled on a handspun I’d created awhile back, out of border leicester. I cram pot dyed the locks, and then spun from the locks. I ended up with a very fuzzy 2 ply yarn.

I decided that it would make a fun warp for an interesting project. You see, I’d been saving these sari silk ribbons for awhile, and I thought they’d make a cool weft. So, I got to work warping my loom in order to have a sari silk ribbon wall hanging.

After a few false starts, after all, it’s been awhile, I ended up with a warped loom and some really high hopes.

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In gardening news, we received, as a house warming gift, and absolutely fantastic little planter. I quickly added some alyssum flowers to the pot and it’s been growing beautifully ever since. This is from the first week, I’ll get a new picture soon for comparison sake. It’s really filling out nicely.

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Miss Bug is off to another week of camp and we are hard at work on a garage sale in order to clear out the old house. Another weekend quickly gone, another week fast approaching. But, I don’t work the full week, so it should be a quick one!

More woven wall hanging pieces

Awhile back I experimented with some corespun yarn, making a wall hanging for my house. But, I decided that it was too thin, and needed additional pieces. I used two more art batt yarns to make two more pieces. These are both shorter than the original piece.

The first up is an alpaca laceweight warp paired with a coreless corespun yarn. I think I am rather partial to this one, but I doubt I’ll try coreless corespun yarn again unless I suddenly come into a large amount of cash. It sure is a fiber eater.

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This one turned out the funkiest, as Miss Bug would say. I am quite excited to hang it.

The third one is an art batt single. Because I was being lazy, I used the warp from the pink project to continue with this project. Which meant I didn’t get to use all the yarn. So, I added quite a bit of fringe on this one. This differentiates it from the others, as well as uses up more of my valuable handspun.

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All of the wall hangings have an olive and lime green overtone, so they work quite well together. Once I have them hung up inside, I’ll take a picture.

 

 

More Weaving

I finished the second scarf in the same pattern as the one I posted yesterday. This time, however, I used commercial yarns. The warp is a plain brown alpaca 2 ply, a light fingering weight yarn. The weft is a silk single, probably more along the lines of a sport or DK. The resulting scarf looks completely different, but still beautiful. And what I like most of all is that it is insanely soft.

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I had been thinking that I planned to leave the loom alone for a bit. However, we are to get our first potentially bigger snow this year, and if we get a snow day….all bets are off.

Handspun Handwoven

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My adventures in weaving have continued. I decided I wanted to try a pattern this go around. And I wanted to use my blue gradient with my gold handspun.

The blue gradient is handspun 2 ply from dyeabolical batts. The gold is a handspun 2 ply yarn made from corgi hill farms lush batts. I like the vertical gradient for the warp. When I was weaving this, I was quite upset because it was hard to see the pattern in the lighter blue.

I was also upset with my edges, unhappy with it feeling like there was too much space between the weft, and I felt that the weft ends were too visible.

I can’t manage to give myself much of a break even when I am learning apparently. But, once it was off the loom and I gave it a good washing, which fulled it a bit, my edges became magically acceptable, the weft was perfect, and it became clear that the eye, when looking at the gradient, fades from seeing the blue in the darker blue areas to seeing the gold in the lighter blue areas, which is kind of cool. So all in all, a success.

I decided to do another scarf in the same pattern. I used the current warp to attach the new warp and pull it through. The new warp is commercial yarn, alpaca, and the weft is commercial yarn as well, a silk single. It looks completely different, and yet still absolutely lovely. And it will end up being the softest scarf around I do believe. I hope to have that one done mid week, and I can’t wait to show it off.

 

Weekend Weaving Part 2

Awhile back I decided that I wanted to weave a piece that would showcase my corespun yarn. My idea was to use a thin yarn as a warp and the corespun as weft. I wanted to capture the corespun gently between the warp, putting the warp on display.

I used habu textiles cotton for the warp. This turned out to be a bad idea. Lesson 1, not all cottons are created equal. Just because it is cotton doesn’t mean it is warp appropriate. Lesson 2 was how to fix a broken warp thread. Not a bad lesson in the learning to weave department, but not one I am eager to learn again so repeatedly.

This spent a lot of time on my loom because…I dunno…I got busy? And uninspired, and there was the fast knitting of the holiday season, and then I piled stuff up on my loom table and it was inaccessible without organizing all that stuff. Weaving went by the wayside until Bug started to repeatedly ask to weave on my loom. I decided I’d better get the project finished and off the loom so she couldn’t keep bugging me about it. That warp was way too tender for her to be weaving on it!

I originally decided that I was going to make this into a wall hanging. After rearranging my living space for the umpteenth time, and removing my TV, I have open wall space that needs to be filled. The thing is, it is a bit too thin to fill that space properly. As such, my plan now is to do a series of 3 wall hangings out of handspun art yarn. I am still unsure of how to attach them to the wall, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. And due to the fact I’ve got 2 scarves to weave before I get back to the wall hangings, I will have plenty of time to think it through and get creative.

In any case, I’ve got a few pictures of the piece I am writing about to show off. It is still in an unfinished state, but it is washed and blocked.

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Weekend Weaving

I spent Saturday at my loom. It has been a long while really, and I enjoyed my day of weaving immensely. I finished up a project I had on the loom, more on that later, and then started a new project.

Awhile back I posted about the gradient I’d spun from dyeabolical batts, and how they reminded me of the label on a bottle of blue moon beer. I’d decided to weave this yarn with a gold handspun. My idea was that the warp would be a vertical gradient, using the gold as the weft. I also decided to try my hand at an actual pattern rather than a plain weave.

I put the yarn on my warping board, having done my calculations. I felt like it was taking too much space on the board. I had this vague feeling of something being not quite right but didn’t indulge that feeling and double check until I was almost done with the warping board. Sure enough, I was about 2 yards short. So, I removed the entire warp and began again.

Once that was done, getting the warp onto the loom was a fairly easy process. I must admit, I like this part of weaving. It brings to mind the phrase “well begun is half done” each and every time I do it. I tend to take my time with this process and allow it to take as long as it needs to. I just hate the idea of making a mistake at this juncture.

And then I got started:

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Since I am so new at this, I am in a constant state of learning. The lesson I learned here is that more contrast is necessary when working something that contains a pattern. On the right side, the pattern shows up well. But as the blue warp gets lighter, the pattern fades. This might seem obvious, but I was too excited about my idea to think it through. That being said, there’s still a chance it may change once the scarf is off the loom. The handspun wool warp stretches quite a bit so I can only imagine it will also bounce back quite a bit. Once it does, there’s a possibility that the pattern may be more obvious. That being said, I really do not have the experience behind me to know if this hypothesis could be true or no.

I think that might be what I am enjoying about weaving right now. There’s no predictability in it for me, it is ALL just experimentation.

Yarn Bombs!

As you may recall, over the past few months I, with the help of friends, have created 6 woven strips of fabric. These were created for a yarn bomb bike ride which took place on Thursday evening last week. We planned quite a bit in one evening, a whiskey tasting, the yarn bombing, and a long bike ride with a picnic. At some point we realized we had overshot the amount we were trying to do in one evening, so in the end, out of 6 strips, only 3 were installed. We will follow up with additional installation at some other point. Ideally on another bike ride.

As I mentioned, I had quite a bit of help. I ended up doing 4 strips myself. I did the warping for the other two as well, but Bug, as well as a couple friends helped with the weaving, bobbin winding, and even measuring the warp. In order to get a little help with this, I planned an evening of food and fiber fun at my house, where I captured a shot of this husband and wife team working on my loom.

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We then did the first installation the evening of the ride.

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With one bike rack bombed, and more riders showing up, we gathered for a whiskey tasting and then set off to another 2 locations. This is where other cyclists got to participate with sewing on the strips.

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I was so grateful for all the help, and we had good fun doing it.

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Hopefully we will be able to get the next 3 installed in the near future. Now there are 3 bike racks in downtown Omaha that help create happy bikes. And more to come.

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Now I just need to get inspired about weaving again. While I love these yarn bombs, the creating of them kind of sucked the life out of weaving for me. I blame red heart. Hopefully a quiet weekend and an exciting project will allow me to get inspired all over again.

The final strips

Last week managed to produce the final 2 woven strips of fabric. One I warped the loom for and my friend Kathy did all the weaving, the other was all me. Except for Bug’s help with the bobbin winder which she just adores!

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It is nice to be done with these because I can now take a little break from weaving and then actually plan something with some patterning, something that will actually be worn. That being said, the event these were for was postponed, so even though I thought I would be able to blog about them this weekend, I cannot. All you get is more strips.

More Woven Strips

For the past month or so, my loom has been dedicated solely to making strips of woven material with an overall red theme. The nature of this will be revealed a bit more in time, but for now I get a chance to show off an additional two strips created this weekend.

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The one on the left was created by Bug and me. We did it on our own over a few weekends. Then Saturday I warped the loom again for the strip on the right. I had some friends over, and at least 3 of them created the woven strip on the right. The only thing I did for that one was warp the loom and then take it back off the loom. I also had help measuring the warp for two more strips which is great because my least favorite part of weaving is working with the warping board.

The added bonus to having allowed others to use my loom, beyond not having to create yet another red strip myself, was that I am pretty sure I may have pushed two of those people over the edge toward learning to weave. That was fun! Actually, most of my fun toys were in use Saturday evening, from my drum carder to my spindles to the loom, warping board, and bobbin winder. I really should do that more often!

Weaving Project #3

Project #3 will have multiple posts, as it is a large project. But, I did create the first part of it already. I am not going to call this a scarf, I am calling it a strip. I started with red acrylic and added some scraps I had laying around. The bulk of this project will be exactly that. Red acrylic with scraps. However, this first project turned out surprisingly nice. I expected it to look funky and weird with the strange variegated yarn. It actually looks quite lovely. I am not positive how much time I will have to devote to this project, but I’d like to get the bulk of it done this weekend. Bug has been a huge help with this one, I’ve set her loose with the bobbin winder and she takes great pleasure in filling my bobbins just as soon as they are empty.

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Since this particular project consists of a number of strips, the weaver’s knot my aunt taught me came in very handy. And, I got to practice it 52 times in one evening. Being able to pull the new warp through with the old was a wonderful bonus, and something I will do for the duration of this project. I am pleased with how fast this project goes with the thick yarn and basic weave. However, I am already looking forward to doing something new, something like a pretty little scarf for me or whatnot. Something with a pattern especially! Since I have yet to try an actual pattern, that is what I am most looking forward to trying next.

 

Weaving project #2

I used flax for the warp and handspun singles, spun from wool locks, as a weft. This was a learning curve project for me for sure. The weft is so textured, so thick and thin, so rustic and artsy, that it is hard to predict how it will act. However, I did a fantastic job with my edges! Only to pull it off the loom and figure out that since some of the singles were quite energized, there are sections of the scarf that pull in on itself. There are some edges that look totally uneven because the yarn has scrunched back up the moment it no longer has tension on it. I was initially irritated with this, but then I just figured it added to the rustic feeling of the scarf, and gave me a ton of ideas for potential scarves using energized singles as a design element.

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The warp for this is an exact match for the color tones of the weft, which I really enjoy. The colors block more than I’d love, mostly because I was spinning from the lock, thus the color transitions are harsh rather than smoothly fading from one to the next. I wish I could get a good picture of the fuzz factor, but that has proven difficult. I love how there are little loops of curly wool randomly hanging out of the scarf, as well as thicker places where the curls have gotten caught well into the warp. The scarf is super long, if I put it over my shoulders, both ends hang on the ground. This is me still not understanding how much waste (or how little, in this case) to allow for in my warp. However, I have always loved a super long scarf, and I wore it yesterday with pride.

Is this even a knitting blog anymore?

I don’t have any knitting to post. Again. Even during Month O’Socks. I can tell you that today I finished the very last leaf of the crazy project, but telling you that isn’t particularly interesting especially since I haven’t worked much on the second sock.

Instead, I’ve got spinning and weaving. I began the flax/spun locks project I had been talking about last week. Sunday night I finally finished warping the loom and got started. I’ve been pretty intensely busy with weaving ever since. I must admit, I do find it to be relaxing. I also really enjoy winding bobbins, and so I keep saying “Just till I am finished with all 4 bobbins, then I can wind 4 more and stop.” Except I don’t stop, I find it really difficult to stop. Which is good I think. Means I am enjoying it. I love love love the fun curly lock singles as the weft. They are thick and thin and have curls and pieces hanging off the yarn, and it makes for an oddly textured piece. Since the locks were dyed different colors, there are many abrupt color changes associated with me changing to the next lock during spinning. Working projects like this trains me to look at my crafts differently, relying less on precision and more on interest. I am enjoying that process.

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I also plied a very small amount of singles that I finished last week. 60 yards of 2 ply yarn, very bouncy and soft. I have 5 more small batts of varying colors to spin like this, so it should be a pleasure to keep going on them.

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First Weaving Attempt

You know what? I decided years ago I wanted to weave¬†specifically¬†because of handspun yarn. I just really thought that the look of handspun on a woven piece would be amazing. It may have taken a few years and the cowl is anything but perfect, but I managed to achieve in my first project the look I was dreaming of all those years. The warp and weft pairing are perfect to show off the color changes in handspun and an alpaca fiber labeled “september twilight” becomes just that. A play on the color tones of a september evening sky. And I love it. Absolutely love it. I cannot stop looking at it.

Now, how did this scarf become a cowl? Well, let me run you through my thought processes. First, I wanted a scarf. And I love really long scarves, so I decided to plan my warp for a long scarf. But then I got started, and there was a good 6 inches of weaving that was awful. I tore the weft back out and started again. Second try was a bit better, but then all of a sudden something clicked and my edges started looking significantly nicer. It was at that point too late to go back and tear out all that weft, so I kept going. Thank goodness for that extra long scarf. As I worked my way through the project, I got to thinking how much I hated the very beginning and how I would find it not at all acceptable for a scarf and whatever was I to do because the project is just too beautiful to give up on and throw out! I threw out my first handspun way back when, not because it was crazily spun yarn, but because the color of the fiber was hideous and I hated that yarn. I couldn’t do that with this project. ¬†But then I remembered that you can sew woven fabric, and why couldn’t I just cut out the section of really bad scarf, then make a french seam at the two ends, making a cowl? That really did satisfy me, knowing that I could probably create something I’d actually wear, and I wove on. In the end, I only had a partial bobbin left of the weft, so I planned fairly well all things considered. The cowl is long and scarf like when doubled over, and the edges aren’t so awful to be totally¬†noticeable.

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I am still utterly amazed that I made this. I don’t know what my next project will be, but I know now that there will be a next project.

And just for fun, I’ll even show you the section I cut out of my cowl.

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I ask you this, how long will it be before I quit saving waste from the loom? I am having trouble throwing out that yarn, imagining that it would be great stuff to tie skeins of handspun with. But really, that is just crazy talk isn’t it?

 

 

 

Edging

I think one of the huge draws of weaving at the moment is where I have it set up. If I sit there during the day and the day is sunny, the sun streams into that window and it makes me warm and happy. Since we are in the middle of winter, this is quite a balm for my soul.

This morning I got up, made a cup of coffee, and sat down at the loom again. Bug decided she wanted to listen to Anne of Avonlea, so this made for a morning of relative quiet, which was soothing.

I talked yesterday about my edges. I didn’t like them and was constantly trying to fix them. I think I have, at least as well as can be expected in this project. I also think I’ve learned enough to make significant changes in the next project. I am glad that I made this scarf rather long. While I tried to just use stash stuff that I had no major attachment to, the resulting color combination is so beautiful that I can’t stand not having this scarf work out. So, I do believe once it is done, I’ll end up sewing it into a cowl, just removing the end where the edges are truly awful. I am going to assume it will be long enough for that.

All I have for you today is a few edge pictures. This may not be overly interesting to anyone else, but I feel the need to document it.

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As for ¬†Month O’Socks, I’ve not been doing much sock knitting. I did get a few rounds done yesterday on the Vintage socks, and a few rows done on the socks for my mom, but there really isn’t enough of interest to post about. That being said, Ummeyusuf finished her first pair and they are awesome! I love the combination of colorwork with strips.

Learning new skills

As I mentioned in the previous post, yesterday was a snow day. And as I mentioned, half the fun of a snow day for me is thinking of all the things I could choose to do with an extra day off. While my thoughts did head in the direction of clean out the freezer, do laundry, deep clean the kitchen, etc, they also headed in the direction of crafting. I knew I didn’t feel like knitting a sock all day and my hands were sore and cramping. I am no longer willing to put up with “the claw” that Month O’Socks has given me in the past. I considered working on a few outstanding projects on the knitting machine, seriously considered doing some color blending on the drum carder, but in the end decided what I’d really like to do is try ¬†my hand at weaving.

A couple years back my aunt gave me a 4 harness table loom. My parents found a way to bring it to me out here on the plane and it has, since then, sat underneath my bed because I just didn’t make purchasing the associated equipment a priority. However, this past Christmas, I asked for those things then proceeded to purchase anything else I had yet to pick up. All I had been waiting for was a good block of time. Time is sometimes very hard to come by. Knowing that the warp would be a learning curve, and knowing that I wanted to finish it in one day, I was waiting for inspiration as well as a day off. And yesterday I had both.

When I finally had decided to learn to use my loom, I found on youtube a serious of videos by an Elizabeth Wagner. They are clear, concise, and broken into small enough pieces that they are easy for me to understand. She even spells out the math involved in a way that doesn’t make my brain hurt. I am sure at some point all of these things will become second nature, but for now I decided to just move through the series of videos with her, watching as I performed each task.

I started with my warping board, adding a cotton/tencel blend I had in my stash. I purchased this from Dyeabolical awhile back but never actually used it. It is a lovely shade of pink, a rich pastel, which is really how I prefer a pastel.

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My warping board can take 4 yards but I only needed a bit more than 3 so I planned accordingly.

At this point I got out my loom, dusted it off, and realized it was a little worse for wear after a plane ride and then being stuck under my bed for a couple years. This was actually a good thing. Why? Because I was forced to figure out why it wasn’t working properly, which helped me investigate the mechanics of it, which ultimately is very valuable for me. I tend to be a person who expects things to just work. And when they don’t, I give up and get frustrated, even though just a bit of time spent investigating the problem would make it so I could figure out the fix. I also have a tendency to assume I am not mechanically minded enough to figure out the problem in the first place. This is really not true, it just takes a little bit of patience on my part. Patience I often don’t think I have.

Once I’d got the loom in working order again, I worked through the video on sleying the reed. Which actually went well despite the fact that with my left hand full of the warp and trying to keep it in order, I got a call about potential fraudulent charges on my card and had to work all that out while never putting down the warp. (Thanks again Knitpicks, that’s card #2 you managed to have compromised!)

As an aside, if you have not been made aware yet, knitpicks, and crafts americana group had a huge security breech and if you’ve purchased from them your card could be compromised. Do keep an eye out or get a new card just to be safe. I won’t get into my anger and annoyance with a company who has been anything but forthcoming with their information, but suffice it to say I am very sad that I can no longer give my business to a company that I absolutely loved in the past.

Ok, back to it, sleying the reed. I did it.

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The series of videos that I worked with has you work front to back with the warp, so that is how I’ve learned.

She then goes on to explain that since I am working from the back of the loom I needed to thread my heddles backward. Since I didn’t want to bother with anything but a plain weave, I just worked 4-3-2-1 and was done.

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For my weft I chose an alpaca handspun single that has been in my stash since the very beginning of my spinning¬†career. I always loved the colors but it didn’t knit into anything particularly wonderful so I just kept frogging it. It does, however, match the pink of the warp perfectly. When I decided I wanted to learn to weave, it was in part because of the desire to know what handspun looked like in a woven item. And while I don’t trust myself to use handspun for a warp yet, I couldn’t see any reason not to use it as the weft.

However, I used some scrap bulkier handspun samples at the very beginning as waste, and I must say, those looked gorgeous too! I am already eager to figure out all the wonderful combinations I could try.

I had a few false starts. I accidentally cut a warp on the end while trying to cut out some weft I wasn’t happy with. I then had to cut another one to make up for the one on the end I cut. I hated my edges at first, and I think it has something to do with not having the tension on the ends as good as tight as they should be. I will work on that for my next project. However, I do think I am starting to get the hang of it now. I’ve got one side where I like the edges and another side where I don’t. But, I am going to continue and chalk it all up to a learning experience. I can’t expect perfection my first go around. (OK, I do expect perfection, but I have to remind myself I am being unreasonable.)

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It’s pretty, and I am going to be proud of it no matter how much I hate the right edge.